“If I catch the plague, they’ll put me in the gulag.”
I’m sitting on the hardwood floor of an East Campus dorm room, across from a first-year who’s trembling in the fetal position.
“I just want to congregate. I just want to congregate so f**king bad.”
These anguished words push through gritted teeth behind a surgical mask.
“I have never been able to openly drink alcohol, do drugs, or have sex. Surely you can understand the kind of stress I am under.”
I’ve spent the past few months serving as The Chronicle’s summer correspondent. It’s only by posing as the Dean of Pratt’s son that I’m able to be here talking with my latest interviewee: this graphic-t-shirt-wearing, socially progressive yet fiscally conservative, pale white male of average height and shoulders upon which all of our fates seem to precariously rest.
He grabs a pillow off of his bed and begins dry-humping it. I ask myself, “How did we get here?”
Horny, repressed, zit-faced, socially inept, newly independent, fresh-out-of-high-school adolescents are exhibiting bad judgement. Administration is baffled.
“Eighteen-year-olds acting irresponsibly? This is unheard of. Those monsters!” complains one faculty member as he stands inside a ring of other faculty members in the shadows of the loading dock behind The Loop placing bets on the COVID body count by the end of the first month of classes. His identity remains anonymous behind a face shield, double mask and several unravelled rolls of toilet paper obscuring any remaining exposed skin.
“It doesn’t make any sense. Who could have possibly predicted that when we brought together thousands of freshmen—a demographic notorious for making poor decisions—that they would make poor decisions? Ooh! Ooh! Put me down for 7 dead, 21 hospitalized!”
I’ve sat in on meetings between Duke faculty, lawyers and the Board of Trustees throughout the summer, keeping my finger on the pulse of the decision making process for the fall. Administrators were surprisingly candid with me, likely due to their aggressive binge-drinking, liberal usage of psychedelic drugs and cavalier experimentation with a smorgasbord of amphetamines while constructing the plan for this semester. Here are some key takeaways and anonymous quotes from various faculty:
- As licensing prices for Zoom increase, Duke is considering conducting the Spring semester of classes entirely via Nintendo DS Chat.
- “Wait, We’re supposed to start giving a damn about their well-being? Haven’t they seen our tuition prices?”
- Computer science professors have tampered with the code of SymMon, Duke’s chosen student symptom-tracking app, so faculty can use it as a sort of “game” wherein they get “points” for correctly predicting hotspots and “level-up” if all 300 designated coronavirus hotel rooms become occupied.
- “Frankly I’ve never really cared for students. They’re so fleshy and gross.”
- President Price recorded a video in his office, sitting in front of his gold-plated telescope, announcing the fall plan to exile upperclassmen from campus. This made him seem more “relatable” to students than if he had recorded it in front of his platinum, diamond-encrusted telescope.
- “I think the best way to approach our response to this pandemic is to do the same thing we did with our response to the Black Lives Matter movement this summer: promise that we’re going to do something, and then not do anything but vaguely disguise it as doing something.”
- In an effort to make admissions more equitable, Duke will allow students to submit TikTok videos as responses to the “Why Duke?” question on the Common App, in addition to accepting SAT and ACT scores optionally.
- “Community colleges are thriving right now. They’ve been pros at online education this whole time. I hope our students don’t realize that what they’re actually paying for here is the Duke stone background in their LinkedIn profile pictures, and not much else.”
- The first draft of the Duke Compact was actually Vincent Price’s drunk text to UPenn, asking them to rehire him. Minimal editing was required.
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Times are tough. But here’s a pretty cool silver lining: If you’re a current student, you are empirically more badass than every alumni before you because you’ve had to go through this and they haven’t. So call an alum this week. Tell them they’re a namby-pamby. And tell ‘em Monday Monday sent you.
Monday Monday failed to sign a lease on an apartment before they all got snatched up, so they now live in the rubble of Central Campus amongst the rats.